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Zaha Hadid Architects completes crystalline energy research center in Riyadh

KAPSARC is a non-profit energy research institution

Aerial view of sprawling center made up of hexagonal forms with open courtyards angling outward to the desert landscape.
KAPSARC is made of up hexagonal forms.
© Hufton+Crow

Zaha Hadid ArchitectsKing Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (KAPSARC), work on which began before Hadid’s untimely death last year, has opened its doors in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

A non-profit energy research institution, KAPSARC encompasses five buildings, including an exhibition hall and 300-seat auditorium, a research library, and a place for prayer, for a total area of 70,000 square meters, or just under 753,350 square feet.

Characterized by the international firm’s signature organic architecture, the sprawling campus integrates a cellular, “partially modular” design that combines different buildings with interconnecting spaces, like courtyards. As such, the hexagonal forms making up the honeycomb-like structure allow for greater fluidity and connectivity and contribute to a feeling of openness while maintaining an impressive volume.

This program also furthers the center’s goals toward sustainability and environmental considerations, with the angles of the crystalline forms shielding the sun’s rays and protecting the interiors from the heat of the Riyadh Plateau.

KAPSARC is ZHA’s first project to receive LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The center was also named as Saudi Arabia’s “smartest” building by the Honeywell Smart Building Awards program.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects